• 22/04/2024 03:27

​British Ministry of Defence: There are seven A-50 aircraft left in Russia

It is unlikely that the Russians shot down the last plane themselves, the British are convinced.

British Ministry of Defense: There are seven A-50 aircraft left in Russia

A-50 aircraft

In Russia there are still long-range radar detection A -50.

As the British Ministry of Defense notes, the last time the A-50 aircraft was destroyed was on February 23, probably by a surface-to-air missile.

“There was a possibility that the Russians accidentally shot down their aircraft, trying to protect it,” the Ministry of Defense noted, commenting on the Russian statement that it seemed to be their air defense that shot down the plane.

Russia began operating A-50 aircraft over the Sea of ​​Azov only in November 2023. This year, on January 14, Ukraine successfully struck an A-50 in the area. “This has forced Russian policymakers to think about safer areas for aircraft operation. This latest Ukrainian success has demonstrated Russia's inability to protect valuable aviation assets. It calls into question the effectiveness of Russian aviation plans,” the British said.

The Ministry of Defense added, that the occupiers will be able to overcome the loss of the A-50, since they have seven such combat aircraft left. But the loss of two experienced crews in a short period of time will likely lead to further strain and demoralization of the remaining forces.

“It is likely that the Russian Air Force will again consider using other operational locations, but Ukraine has demonstrated the ability to adapt quickly and continues to pose a threat,” the British department noted.

A-50 aircraft failures

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  • The Russians first lost an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft, tail number RF-50601 “Red”, over Ukraine in January. Also then it was reported that the Il-22M11 aircraft command post was damaged.
  • On the evening of February 23, the Ukrainian military shot down another A-50 aircraft. The information was confirmed by the commander of the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Nikolai Oleshchuk. The Main Intelligence Directorate reported that a sharp drop in the speed and altitude of the downed aircraft was recorded near the city of Yeisk.
  • Why the A-50 is an important target for Ukraine

    • The A-50 is a long-range radar detection and control aircraft based on the Il-76 military transport aircraft, which made its first flight on December 19, 1978. It was developed to replace the already outdated Tu-126 by the Taganrog Scientific and Technical Aviation Complex and the Vega Research and Production Association. Operation of prototypes began in 1985, and the aircraft was adopted by the Soviet army in 1988.
    • In Soviet times, the industry managed to produce about 31 aircraft; to this day there are not many “living” aircraft left, only about 12 in different variations: 9 in service with the Russian PKS in the A-50 and A-50U variations (3 and 6, respectively), the rest – in service with the Indian Armed Forces.
    • The aircraft is equipped with the Shmel radio-technical complex based on the Soviet on-board electronic computer “Argon-50”.
    • There are 10 people working on board the aircraft with the complex 11 operators: commander, senior guidance navigator, two guidance navigators, senior support operator, two support operators, and RTK, radar and communications flight engineers. Together with them there are 5 flight crew members on board.
    • The aircraft is capable of conducting reconnaissance of air, ground and surface targets. Through optical-electronic on-board systems, the aircraft can detect ballistic missile plumes at a distance of up to 800 kilometers, and the radar station is capable of finding and tracking aircraft and cruise missiles at distances of up to 700 kilometers.
    • Targets similar to air defense launchers. ballistic missiles – at a distance of up to 400 kilometers, and a concentration of armored vehicles – up to 450.


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